- Associated Press - Friday, July 28, 2017

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Farm earnings in Montana plunged 71 percent from 2015 to 2016 due to historic drops in the prices for wheat, cattle and other commodities.

The Missoulian reported (https://bit.ly/2w7vU2a ) Thursday that in fall 2016, cattle prices collapsed to less than half of what they were in 2014. That meant many ranchers were losing money on their investment. The prices for wheat, the state’s leading cash crop, also fell by half of what they were the year before.

Agriculture is Montana’s largest industry, creating $4.6 billion in revenue in 2015, so a drop in farm earnings has had and will continue to have ripple effects across the state’s economy.

Patrick Barkey, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, called 2016 a “nightmare” year for agricultural producers.

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Information from: Missoulian, https://www.missoulian.com

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